The pristine turquoise waters of the North Sound have long ranked amongst Antigua’s greatest natural treasures. The Bird Island Marine Reserve is a particularly idyllic stretch of it. There are no hotels, no cars and no shops in this 1,500-acre aquatic wonderland, just breathtaking seascapes, uninhabited islets, soaring birds and bobbing yachts. And if you don’t have your own boat (or even a friend with a boat) to whisk you there, then Wadadli Cats are the people to call.
This much-loved catamaran company has been offering exhilarating day sails to our scenic hotspots for more than thirty years now. The pride of the fleet is the ‘Spirit of Antigua’, a 66ft. vessel boasting the fastest sailing speeds on the island. Its twin-hull configuration with deck awnings ensures plenty of space for relaxing in the shade, its handy stem ladders and freshwater showers mean guests can also take full advantage of the pristine turquoise waters. Great music, fun company and a Caribbean-style buffet lunch are the icing on the cake.
And while you can cruise to Cades Reef or circumnavigate the entire island with Wadadli Cats, it’s the once-a-week trips to Great Bird Island that will really introduce you to another world. This 20-acre island is like a reef-protected tropical park complete with shallow waters, two white sand beaches and the sort of birdlife that gets twitchers very twitchy — in a good way, of course. We’re not just talking pelicans and hummingbirds here, but frigate birds, royal terns, red-footed boobies, West Indian whistling ducks and even red-billed tropicbirds.
If you fancy taking a hike up the recently-constructed steps to the top of the island, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent vistas of the Caribbean Sea to the west and Atlantic Ocean to the east. The dramatic blowholes in the limestone rock are where the seawater has burst out at high-pressure over the millennia. And if you get particularly lucky, you could also happen upon one of the Antiguan racer snakes that have long taken refuge on this mongoose-free getaway. Anyone with a fear of reptiles needn’t worry though — the snakes are shy, slow-moving and totally harmless to everything but unsuspecting lizards.
The Great Bird Island Tour with Wadadli Cats leaves on Fridays. Cost US$95 per adult and US$48 per child. Pick-ups between 8:15am and 9:45pm from various west and north coast hotels.
(NB: Tropical Adventures and CocoVibes Tours also offer day-trips to our offshore islands.)
For further information see www.wadadlicats.com